Sonoran Flour Tortillas


2 C Bread flour

1 t Salt

3 T plus 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening

C Warm water

Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the shortening using a fork, a pastry blender or your fingertips. Gradually add the water, working it in until you have a sticky dough. Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 2 or 3 minutes.


Allow the dough to rest, covered, for 15 minutes. Then divide it into 6 or 8 balls of equal size, cover, and allow to rest for 45 minutes to an hour.


Roll each ball of dough, between sheets of waxed paper, as thinly as possible (between 1/16 to 1/8 thick) into a circle. Remove the waxed paper from one side of the tortilla, then, carefully, from the other side. Transfer the tortilla to a hot, dry skillet or griddle. Cook for 10 seconds, turn it, and cook for 10 more seconds, then turn again for 10 more seconds per side. Remove the tortilla, place it in a napkin-lined basket and cover with aluminum foil. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.


Making the dough was easy. Making the tortillas was not. My equipment, unlike my skills, was right. Rolling the tortillas into nice circles between sheets of waxed paper was easier than I expected, but my optimism was short-lived. I found that the waxed paper on the first side comes away more easily if you tear it off in one swift motion but, no matter what I tried, I could not manage to coax the remaining waxed paper off the other side without mangling the tortilla or without the little demon drawing up to the size of a sand dollar. Curse that high-gluten flour anyway.


I cooked them, anyway. But, since the thickness of the tortillas wasn't uniform, they didn't cook up very nicely. I consoled myself by eating one of my Chewy Tortillas with butter and salsa, and decided to share my failure with you readers.


I began this article by stating that I was no expert at making flour tortillas. I'm still not, but I plan to become one, as far as the Chewy Tortillas are concerned. Not only do they compliment Tex-Mex and Southwestern foods, but they make a terrific substitution for bread anytime. The next time I want to make burritos, I'll do what I've always done -- I'll get my thin tortillas at the supermarket.